Many Nextel phone models can be used in the Direct Talk push-to-talk mode. Not to be confused with the Direct Connect push-to-talk mode, which uses the cellular network, Direct Talk allows communication directly between two phone, as long as they are within range of each other.
When Nextel ceased operations. a huge number of their phones found their way to the used, surplus market. They can be found on eBay and other marketing websites at discounted prices. The following is a list of specific Nextel phones which support the Direct Talk feature:
This list has been sourced from others who have successfully used the Nextel Direct Talk feature, and is believed to be accurate. However, you should always verify that this function operates with the model prior to purchase. Also, a Nextel SIM card must be installed in order for the feature to work as it contains the identification data necessary for the phones to communicate with each other.
Southern Linc operated a dispatch with interconnect service similar to Nextel in the Southeastern United States, however their Direct Linc service was only available as a value-added service. Consequently, used Southern Linc phones may not be useable, and their purchase should be avoided.
These radios operate in the 902-928 MHz unlicensed ISM band. The International Telecommunications Union has designated this as a license-free band in Region 2, which includes the Americas, Caribbean, and certain Eastern Pacific islands. As such, this is the only wireless category that is legal to use anywhere in the United States, on the cruise ship in international waters, or in foreign ports in the Caribbean.
The phones utilize frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum technology with a maximum output power of one watt. The range is about one mile (less in urban areas and greater in rural areas).
The radios operate on one of ten different channels, which are also known as hop sets or frequency hop groups. Each channel uses a specific frequency hop sequence algorithm, that uses 50 distinct frequencies within the 902-928 MHz band.
Each of the ten channels has 15 talkgroups per channel, which operate similar to PL (subaudible tone) codes on other radio services. Therefore, a business operating on Channel 3 could have separate talkgroups established for different departments (supervisors, maintenance, housekeeping, operations, customer service, and so on).
Appearance is everything, and using a walkie talkie tends to attract the wrong kind of attention. However, Nextel phones look like cellular phones, and nowadays cellular phones are everywhere. Therefore, using one on a cruise ship or at a port of call wouldn’t be seen as something unusual.